The right systems and strategies can simplify how agencies meet FAST Act requirements and secure federal funding.
Legislative changes often place additional burdens on transportation agencies’ limited resources. The wide-ranging mandates of the 2015 FAST Act (like its legislative precursor, MAP-21) continue to challenge agencies to be performance-driven in exchange for coveted federal funding. But thanks to advanced asset management software, it’s simpler than ever to meet compliance requirements and deliver higher value to the public—while furnishing the data to secure those much-needed federal dollars.
Here are three ways transportation agencies can use data analytics to meet FAST Act requirements.
(1) Set smarter targets
FAST Act was designed to improve the allocation and return on investment of federal funds and to track the effectiveness of investments in meeting agency-defined goals. Agencies must demonstrate how infrastructure investments affect asset lifecycles and performance; asset managers must accurately forecast the projects that will bring the most benefit to the public.
Meeting these expectations begins with setting optimal performance targets. An advanced transportation asset management system can provide granular data analysis and decision support to simplify the complexities of target setting. Using predictive modeling and detailed decision trees, asset managers can identify and set targets that deliver the highest infrastructure value at the most affordable price—getting the most bang for federal bucks.
(2) Generate meaningful reports
FAST Act requires agencies to submit multiple sets of progress reports over a 4-year performance period. As transportation leaders know, documenting progress and compiling reports can be time-consuming and challenging.
An advanced transportation asset management system can use data visualization and graphical reporting to create presentation-ready displays of progress at the asset, project, or strategic level. Using advanced reporting tools makes it possible to create more compelling and intuitive reports that justify funding allocations and investment decisions. Automated reporting helps asset managers spend more time on strategic decision-making and less time backtracking to complete documentation.
(3) Conduct a gap analysis
Often, agencies start with a limited annual budget and want to know what the network condition will be at that level of funding. Using the analytical tools in an advanced asset management system, the agency can perform a gap analysis by comparing the available budget to the funds required to achieve certain performance targets. The gap analysis guides decision-making about whether to allocate more funding to achieve the desired targets or to adjust the targets to fit the current budget.
Think big picture
Taken together, the actions outlined here dovetail into a big-picture approach to elevate how transportation leaders plan, execute, and report on their projects. FAST Act mandates can be a stimulus for transportation leaders to adopt a more strategic way of prioritizing agency improvements and carrying out long-term plans.
The right asset management solutions are critical in helping agencies to achieve performance targets, secure performance-based federal funding, and maximize the return on their infrastructure investments.
For more information about strategies and technologies to meet FAST Act requirements, contact AgileAssets.